Biden joins striking McDonald’s workers ahead of LA debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden rallied with striking McDonald’s workers in Los Angeles on Thursday ahead of the sixth Democratic primary debate. 

“This is about a fight for your dignity. It’s not just about the numbers,” Biden told workers at the Fight for 15 labor group rally, according to NBC News.

Employees of the fast-food chain have been organizing through the labor group in recent months, demanding a higher minimum wage. McDonald’s agreed to pay $26 million as a part of a settlement last month with California workers who say the company has not fairly compensated them. 

Biden expressed his support last month for McDonald’s employees demanding a higher minimum wage. 

“We have to change the culture. Unions will help do that. Fifteen dollars an hour. No sexual harassment. Absolutely important. I’m with you 100 percent,” Biden said in a video last month. 

McDonald’s said in a statement Thursday that the company prides itself “on building a workplace that supports crewmembers and their ambitions.” 

“McDonald’s does not lobby against or participate in any activities opposing raising the minimum wage and believes elected leaders have a responsibility to set, debate and change mandated minimum wages,” the company said in a statement to The Hill. “McDonald’s Corporation recognizes the rights under the law of individual employees to choose to join – or choose not to join – labor organizations.”

Thursday’s rally comes ahead of the last Democratic primary debate of the year, which nearly did not happen due to a labor dispute between Unite Here Local 11, which represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers associated with Loyola Marymount University, where the debate will be held, and food service provider Sodexo.

All seven candidates participating in the debate, including Biden, vowed to not cross the union’s picket line.

However, an agreement between the two sides was reached on Tuesday. Unite Here Local 11 said in a statement that the new contract provides a three-year deal that includes a 25 percent increase in compensation, a 50 percent drop in health care costs and “increases workers’ job security.”

Updated: 6:11 p.m.

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